Gokada, one of Nigeria’s most prominent last-mile delivery companies, reportedly considered selling the business to a competitor, Kwik Logistics, in 2022. Three people familiar with the discussions told TechCabal that the talks were on the table in the last quarter of 2022. Ultimately, the deal did not go through and it is unclear why those talks broke down. Gokada recently set its valuation at $10 million as it tried to raise $100,000 through crowdfunding.
In a previous report, TechCabal reported that Gokada laid off at least 20 employees in November 2022 before laying off 54 more people this week. Tosin Oni, Gokada’s CEO, said the layoffs were in response to harsh macroeconomic conditions. He said that as an unprofitable startup with negative cash flow, the priority for them at the moment is increasing efficiency.
Gokada is “constantly evaluating its options”
Some former employees said that they knew company was considering a couple of options, but they were left in the dark about the discussions to potentially sell the company. Despite the hush-hush nature of the proposed sale talks, several ex-employees say they were familiar with the links to Kwik logistics.
When TechCabal reached out to Tosin Oni, he declined to answer any questions surrounding the talks about a sale. When asked about the options the company was considering last year, he only said, “We’re a startup, and we’re constantly evaluating our options.”
Kwik Delivery’s CEO, Romain Poirot-Lellig, declined to answer any questions relating to a Gokada in a phone call with TechCabal. But he told TechCabal on the call: “What I can tell you is that Kwik strongly believes that the time has come for the African tech ecosystem to consolidate because funding is becoming less accessible to companies.”
In a capital-intensive sector, many logistics industry experts believe that keeping overhead low and being asset-light can be a way to survive and thrive. It explains why Gokada is reducing its headcount. But the layoffs are a sore point for workers.
Bad reviews follow layoffs
On Glassdoor, Gokada has a 2.9 star rating out of a possible 5. That’s only slightly better than Bento’s 2.8 stars, a company where the CEO faced accusations of workplace bullying and creating a chaotic workplace culture. Most of Gokada’s negative ratings can be traced to around November 2022, when the first round of layoffs happened.
It’s in line with the sentiment of employees that spoke with TechCabal this week, who said that they felt the company showed little empathy in the layoff process. Gokada, on its part, said that it would continue to learn and improve its process in what is typically a “tough situation”.
*This is a developing story.